WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS AT THE END OF A TENANCY?
The tenant must return the premises to the landlord as nearly as possible in the same condition as set out in the ingoing condition report, apart from reasonable wear and tear.
WHAT IS “REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR”?
Living in a home will cause wear and tear through ordinary day to day use and/or natural forces. This is what is known as “reasonable wear and tear”.
Damage that is caused by your intentional, negligent or careless actions is not reasonable wear and tear.
In determining whether damage to the walls and paint is reasonable wear and tear, the Residential Tenancy Commissioner will consider a range of factors including:
- the age, quality and condition of any item at the beginning of the tenancy;
- the average lifespan of the item;
- the extent and noticeability of the damage;
- the number of tenants and household composition;
- the length of the tenancy;
- the impact of the damage on future tenancies.
Please be aware, that you are also responsible for damage caused by guests that you have invited onto your property.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR
None of the following decisions are binding on the Residential Tenancy Commissioner or the Magistrates Court of Tasmania, though they may provide a guide as to how your case may be decided. Any decision will be highly dependent on the specific circumstances of your case.
Minor scuff marks on walls from furniture or kids’ writing on wall was reasonable wear and tear in Elhassan v Ayoub  NSWCATAP 34
Ordinary use of the house by a family with children resulting in minor scratch marks on walls and doorframes in the heavily trafficked areas of the house is reasonable wear and tear in Bakeer v Hariri; Hariri v Bakeer  NSWCATAP 196
Marks on the wall of bedroom was reasonable wear and tear because they could easily be cleaned in Akhtar v Chowdhury  NSWCATAP 243
Stains on a wall which the landlord believed to be caused by the tenant’s dog, which the landlord allowed the tenant to keep on the premises is reasonable wear and tear in Buckland v Goodwin (Tenancy)  NSWCTTT 685
Extensive damage to the wall outside bathroom due to mould was beyond reasonable wear and tear in Akhtar v Chowdhury  NSWCATAP 243
Dent in wall caused by opening of door where wall is touched due to no doorstop is reasonable wear and tear in Hosseini v Charmoun  NSWCATCD 3
Some scratches, dents and chips will occur to walls and exposed corners of walls, doors and door frames during the course of normal use of a property. But, a gouge to the corner of a wall that leaves a hole is not consistent with reasonable wear and tear in Chandra v Masterman (Residential Tenancies)  ACAT 90
Walls painted in a colour/s without landlord’s consent is reasonable wear and tear when tenant has lived in property for ten years and ingoing condition report showed most walls dirty and marked Weber v Franks (Tenancy)  NSWCTTT 414
Due to painting of internal walls needing to be re-done every 7-10 years landlord not entitled to compensation for repairing/repainting the pinpricks and minor damage to the gyprock, as forms part of the preparation work for repainting the property in Acevska v Foss (Tenancy)  NSWCTTT 541
- Re-painting was needed due to blu-tack on the walls and scuffed skirting boards. Without any condition report, no photographs of the room and with tenant providing evidence that room in similar condition when moved in, tenant not liable for cost of painting in Sharman v Flanagan (Residential Tenancies)  VCAT 451
- Damage to property must be fixed so that property is returned in same condition in which it was found. Different paint and a noticeable patch means the tenant is responsible for the cost of the repair proportionate to paint lifespan in Scorgie v Chew  ACTRTT 16
EVIDENCE YOU SHOULD PROVIDE IN A BOND CLAIM OR DISPUTE
As well as arguing that any damage to the walls and paint is reasonable wear and tear, you can also defend a claim to your bond on the basis that, for example:
The walls or paint have not been damaged. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Ingoing condition report
- Outgoing condition report
- Photos and/or videos from start and end of tenancy
- Receipt from cleaning company
REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR
The walls or paint have been damaged but it is the landlord’s responsibility. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Evidence of the length of the tenancy
- Evidence of the number of people living in the property
- Evidence of household composition (eg children)
- The ingoing and outgoing condition reports
- Photos from the start and the end of the tenancy
- Photos demonstrating that damage not excessive
- Evidence such as signed and dated witness statements or statutory declarations, photographs, expert reports that damage occurred during the normal use of the property
LANDLORD’S CLAIM IS UNREASONABLE
The walls or paint have been damaged and it is not reasonable wear and tear, but the amount of money the landlord is asking for is excessive. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Cheaper quotation/s from different suppliers
- Receipts demonstrating that repairs were carried out
- Evidence demonstrating the extent of the damage
- Evidence demonstrating the impact of the damage on the function of the item
- Evidence of age of item. The deemed lifespan of paint is 7-10 years: Acevska v Foss (Tenancy) 2010 NSWCTTT 541
We would like to acknowledge and thank the Eastern Area Tenants Service in New South Wales for their assistance. This factsheet was made available through the generous support of the Law Foundation of Tasmania.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not legal advice. It is intended as a guide only. It applies only to legislation current in Tasmania as at 1 February 2022. For information regarding a specific tenancy problem please phone the Tenants’ Union on 1300 652 641 or (03) 6223 2641. The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania Inc. accepts no responsibility for actions based on this information, nor for actions based on electronic translations of this information.